Kelly in the Media

Time to lay out a welcome mat

By Ashleigh Pisani, Portside Messenger
Wednesday 30 November 2016

Call for better beach access.

Residents near Largs North beach say they are struggling to access the foreshore.

John Le Raye, 55, lives at Largs North and would like an access mat to be provided by the council.

The council is currently trialling two different styles of access mats at Semaphore beach and Largs Bay beach but Mr Le Raye said there needs to be one at Largs North as well.

An access mat provides a smooth surface stretching from the road to the water’s edge to allow easy access.

Mr Le Raye said he has mobility difficulties and severe asthma that make it hard for him to visit the beach.

“There are serious issues surrounding access to the beach at this spot at Largs North,” Mr Le Raye said.

He said the entry point was used by a large number of residents.

“Over the years the distance from the road to the foreshore has gradually increased by many metres,” he said.

“It is no longer a short stroll and is dangerous with snakes active for several months of the year.

I would like to go to the beach regularly but I am restricted because by myself it is too laborious.”

He said it was an issue for elderly and disabled residents as well as parents and carers with strollers.

Not having a mat was a risk for all beach goers during the summer, Mr Le Raye said.

Port Adelaide Enfield chief executive Mark Withers said the council’s trial, which began in April, will continue until next April.

“We have had a positive response to the beach access mat trial at Semaphore and Largs Bay,” Mr Withers said.

“At this stage we will not be installing extra mats, although council may decide to consider that next year.” The mats can cost more than $20,000 for a 70m track.

Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent said she had written to all the councils about the need for access mats at every beach. “It is a significant investment but a worthwhile one,” Ms Vincent said.

She said the mats made a huge difference in allowing people to access the beach some for the first time.